Levitation through sound: now with 3D manipulation [video]


Levitation through sound, also called acoustic levitation, uses standing waves in order to keep small objects afloat, in the air. Standing waves, in this context, are at least two sound waves that have the same frequency but come from opposite direction. Because of this the interference of these waves creates fixed points called nodes where you can put small things and they will levitate in those spots.

In the paper published on Arxiv.org Yoichi Ochiai, Takayuki Hoshi, Jun Rekimoto, from University of Tokyo, Nagoya Institute of Technology, University of Tokyo and Sony CSL, explain that they use ultrasonic waves in order to create pressure in the air and to manipulate milimeter-sized object in a 3D environment. They can move those tiny object in any direction they want by moving the sound source from one place to another.

On the dedicated page the three reseachers show more pictures and videos. They used 4 sound generator arrays (or speakers, they call them transducers) to generate the standing waves and move things around in 3D. The ultrasounds used have a frequency of 40Khz, way more than a human ear can hear as the human hearing range is between 20 – 20 000 Hz. That does not mean it cannot affect your ears in any way, however the researchers seem to have no issues while maneuvering those objects inside those transducers.

I’m wondering: how low frequency and powerful does a sound wave have to be in order to lift a person in the air?

Via Dvice.

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